Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
Day 37. Fear
overcast, light snow, 30 degrees F
07 October 2010 | Everest Base Camp, Nepal 17,642 ft.(5,377m)
There are the things that are scary that you can see and touch: crevasse, steep incline, or dangerous ice. There are also the things that you can’t see like an impending avalanche or wind. Then, there are the things that are substantially less tangible like failure. I can’t see it or touch it, but it is always looming close.

Two days ago, I was supposed to head back up to camp 2 and then 3. Not because I needed to, but because I wanted to get some extra time at altitude. Most climbers take longer to reach Camp 3. (Once there, many also simply do a quick turn around rather than spending the night.) Finishing breakfast and donning our packs, we received a call that instructed us to stay put. The weather was bad at Camp 2 and nobody was going anywhere. It was like a snow day with no school. So instead of climbing the ice fall, I spent the day relaxing.

Yesterday, I woke up early again to prep for a climb to Camp 2. This time, it wasn’t the weather that stopped me, my back had suddenly developed a fairly severe spasm. I reached down for my boots and lightning bolts of pain radiated through my lower back.

I’ve had my fair share of hard labor jobs carrying and hauling heavy loads. At one point in my early 20’s I spent time cutting trees and carrying eight foot sections out on my shoulder. I used to joke that someday, long into the future, my back would pay the price.

There's a quote that I think applies here. I'm not sure who said it, but it goes something like, 'life is what is happens when your busy making other plans.' We in the middle of discussing summmit plans when a slight wrench is thrown into the situation.

Our ambitious plans have suffered another set back as well. The weather4expeditions.com forecasts call for increasing winds over the next several days In fact, Mark suggested that the jet stream will most likely move directly over the summit. Therefore, our summmit plans will be pushed back substantially.

I have an Inuit friend who comments in situations like this, 'make up your mind so you can change it later.'

Tshering's take is more expected, 'its better for you to rest.'

Jo Sanders asks, 'what do you think of when you are in that envirnoment?'

Well Jo, you name it. My mind seems to drift all over the place. On climbing days, I am fairly focused on moving and safety. Other times, my thoughts are more diverse - my family, friends, crazy situations from my past, definitely Maria. Most days, I simply think about how lucky I am to be here.

Image: Camp 1.
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